Medicare Extends Enrollment Period For Those
Affected By Sandy
Can still enroll after the midnight Dec. 7 deadline
if you call Medicare’s 24-hour information line, 1- 800-Medicare
By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News Blog
Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment
Oct. 15 thru Dec. 7
find Medicare tools and information, and compare the cost or
benefits of 2013 Medicare drug & health plans in your area, Click
Call 1-800 MEDICARE
Nov. 9, 2012 - Medicare beneficiaries battered by Superstorm Sandy
have one less problem to worry about: Federal officials have extended
Dec. 7 deadline to enroll
in a private medical or drug plan for next year for those still coping
with storm damage.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
“understands that many Medicare beneficiaries have been affected by this
disaster and wants to ensure that all beneficiaries are able to compare
their options and make enrollment choices for 2013,” Arrah Tabe-Bedward,
acting director for the Medicare Enrollment and Appeals Group, wrote in
Nov. 7 letter to health insurance
companies and State Health Insurance Assistance Programs.
Beneficiaries hit by the storm can still enroll
after the midnight Dec. 7 deadline if they call Medicare’s 24-hour
information line,1- 800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227).
be able to review available plans and complete the enrollment process
over the phone.
“We are committed to giving people with Medicare
the information and the time they need to make important decisions about
their coverage,” Medicare spokeswoman Isabella Leung said in an e-mail.
Medicare officials have not set a new deadline but have encouraged
beneficiaries to make their decisions soon if possible.
Seniors currently in a plan will be automatically
re-enrolled for next year in the same plan.
The extra time also applies to any beneficiaries
who normally get help from family members or others to sort through
dozens of plans but who have been unable to do so this year because they
live in storm-ravaged areas. Neither beneficiaries nor those who provide
them assistance will be required to prove that they experienced storm
“This is a really important recognition by CMS to
accommodate Medicare enrollees affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Leslie
Fried, director for policy and programs at the National Council on
Aging, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Obama
administration declared Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode
Island as “major disaster areas,” according to the U.S. Federal
Emergency Management Agency. In addition,
FEMA issued emergency declarations
for parts of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
More than 4 million seniors in those states are
enrolled in drugs-only plans and more than 2.8 million have Medicare
Advantage policies, which includes medical and drug coverage.
NOTE: This post has been corrected. Earlier versions
mistakenly said coverage for those who do not enroll in a 2013 plan
would expire at the end of the year. CMS says instead that seniors
already in a plan will be automatically re-enrolled for next year in the
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